The Time I Fired My Closest Friend

The Time I Fired My Closest Friend

There was a time I had to fire one of my closest friends. It was the scenario I had dreaded since the day I hired him.

I was the Founder & CEO of a rapidly growing professional services firm. Paul was a great cultural fit, he had the right skills to take our business to the next level, and in fact, the only downside was the impact it could have on our friendship if things did not work out. We focused on the upside, and Paul joined the team.

We successfully grew and then sold the company to a strategic acquirer within a few years. Following the acquisition our team became a regional office for the larger organization, and our numbers had began to stray off course. We missed a month, then another, and another – clearly there was a trend. Our business had changed, and it was obvious, Paul had lost his mojo.

When the day finally came and I knew in my heart we needed to part ways, it turned out it was not so difficult after all. And here is why:

The People Analyzer®

Within our organization we had implemented and adopted a set of tools, a common vocabulary, to get the right people into the organization, and into the right roles – i.e., “Right Person, Right Seat” or “RPRS”. We used the the tools to hire, coach, promote and remove talent in the organization. These are the same tools I used to coach and ultimately part ways with Paul, as I explain the “People Analyzer” further below.

Right Person:

The right person is someone that simply “fits” the organization like a glove. They share your organization’s core values and exhibit them most all the time.

Right Seat:

The right seat is when the right people can answer “Yes” to three simple questions about their role. Does the person:

  • Get it? – they have the aptitude, natural ability, and thorough understanding of the ins and outs of the job.  They are wired to do the job.
  • Want It? – they have the passion, desire, to perform the role (they wake up each day excited to come to work, more than just for the money).
  • Have the Capacity to Do It? – poses the physical, emotional, and intellectual capacity to do the job.  They get the job done in the timeline needed.

If the answer is “No” to any one of these questions the person is not in the right seat and you will want to take corrective action.

Parting Ways

Back to Paul. When Paul and I discussed his performance we both came at it from a common framework using a common vocabulary and tools. Paul and I agreed he was a great cultural fit, but it was clear that something was no longer working – his numbers were consistently off. He was the right person for the organization, but was he in the right seat?

We evaluated his performance in his role and both agreed that Paul Got It, he Had the Capacity to Do It, but he no longer Wanted It – things had changed, and his head and heart just were not in it.

Paul and I both agreed rather than prolonging the inevitable we agreed on a transition plan. At the end of the day, it was a win-win. We filled the seat with the right replacement and growth ultimately got back on track. Paul went on to quickly find a new role where his passion was rekindled, and he is happier and and making greater compensation than ever before.

And in case you are wondering, Paul and I are still close friends.

The People Analyzer is one of the many tools in the Entrepreneurial Operating System® (EOS) that help entrepreneurial leadership teams get aligned, achieve their vision, and develop healthier, more cohesive teams.

About Josh Holtzman

Josh Holtzman is an entrepreneur and business coach (founder of Chute CXO) based out of Los Angeles, CA.

Josh founded and grew a leading professional services firm, which he then sold to a national player, and together grew and sold the firm a second time to a global publicly traded IT services company.

Adopting EOS was a key turning point in Josh’s career as an entrepreneur. He is passionate about giving back to the entrepreneurial community by helping other entrepreneurial leaders strengthen their businesses using EOS.

If you would like to learn more about implementing EOS within your organization, contact Josh for a free discovery session.

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